Wednesday, 9 May 2012
The carrot and the stick
Parents across the globe will recognise the beneficial health properties of the Reward Chart. And by that I mean beneficial to a parents sanity, which in turn helps prevent the throttling of children. We've used them for The Daughter in the past, but after a while my enthusiasm has lost momentum and the chart have remained, redundant, stuck to the fridge with hideous holiday souvenier magnets. But following a run of spectacular tantrums from The Daughter which left The Husband and I on the brink of leaving the child outside the Co-Op in the hope someone nice would find her and take her to an orphanage, we knew it was time to break out the big guns. I announced that, the very next day, I was going to buy sticker charts for both childers and as soon as the words left my lips The Daughter began behaving, which got us off to a promising start. Off Mummy went into town to find suitable ones, finding a colossal pink one in Poundland (I somehow managed to make that sound rude, what a talent!) and a vehicle themed one for The Boychild in Wilko's. I'm still not entirely sure why I bought The Boychild one, as we have enough bribery going on with the Car-pot/chocolate button malarky, and the sticker chart just seems to have blown his mind. Being from Poundland, The Daughters chart needed some clever alterations to change the categories from unecessary things like 'I must drink lots of water' (the girl pees like a racehorse, she doesn't need any more encouragement to drink) to more helpful ones like 'I must not punch daddy in the face'. Just kidding. For every category, there are a maximum amount of points available, and for every fifty points she gets to choose a small reward. Her chart takes pride of place on her bedroom wall, and every evening before bed we go through her behaviours for the day and how we think she's done, putting the stickers on and awarding points. We're on day 3, and she's doing spectacularly well; no tears or cross words (from Mummy either, which is a bonus), doing everything she's told, helping with little jobs around the house (is it too soon to get her cleaning the cat trays and handwashing my silk shirt..?) and generally being lovely. Suffice it to say it's been much nicer. There are only two small niggles on the horizon. The first is that she has already reached the first reward (a ginger cat toy please Mummy) and is halfway to her second! So we're either going to have to rethink the scoring system or risk bankruptcy. The second is keeping the enthusiasm going, but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. So yeah, all hail the reward chart! Wonder if it works on Husbands as well?